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Looking Back to Keep Going Forward, Assessing a Time Management Tool: Journaling by Author @LiviaQui

A memory comes to me occasionally of my mother saying she found it curious that I always had a pen in my hand as if it was waiting for something to write… she never knew I became an author but I’ve journaled for many years. It did seem as if words just needed to flow from my fingers...

Last week I retired the planner I’ve used for the last six months and did an assessment of my new process as a management tool. I was actually amazed by how much I’d accomplished this year so far and I credit this particular notebook method.

Years ago, I used to carry a Day Runner Purse keeping everything in it with me - addresses, plans, to dos, finances, ideas - I called it my “bible to myself” so when I discovered bullet journals/travel notebooks and art journaling, I jumped into it whole hog.

After researching sizes, I decided on the most flexible one for me that will accommodate most 5x8” notebooks. I ordered a pretty forest green leather notebook cover (the basis for a travel notebook) from A bullet journal on the other hand can be created in any notebook that lies flat like some of the ones I show further down.

In my first attempt, I set up a travel notebook style planner with individual notebooks I made myself for various tasks, a separate one for finances, calendar, book notes, etc. The individual items are banded into the cover and can be removed for entry if needed or reordered. But after two months I ditched the many separate notebooks and went with a Popper and dollar store monthly calendar and this round, a bound daily journal.

I’ve included some images of some of my messy pages, some of my notebooks, supplies and calendar styles. One of my favorite calendars is the one with the circle calendar in the center and boxes for each month around it which allows me to put main focus in the center and more detail in the boxes. The detail book tasks page has been very helpful lately.

And I love my quote page which holds some of the quotes that inspire me. (Here’s one of my favorites, a quote my grandson shared with me when he was in the Navy.)

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain

Don’t worry if you don’t want to decorate it, though there’s some real benefits to the creative energy that comes from it, or that your penmanship is well…ugly. That is not the point.

The core strength of these bullet journals/traveler’s notebooks/art journals/daily planners – whatever you choose to call them – is the intention that’s brought to the effort, the concentration on tasks, to dos, ideas, the tracking of daily life, goals set and met.

You identify a task or reminder, write down your intention to commit, to attend, achieve or remember, add goals or a date for that task – examples: pay off credit card by___, meals planned for one week, edits done for four books by June 30 at 8000 words per day, etc.

In Smart Journaling by Mackenzie Read, this expert says, “Distraction takes a heavy toll on productivity… Smart journaling gives the mind room to think.”

I was excited when I started this so I bought supplies – washi tape, rubber stamps, stencils, fancy card stock to make my own notebooks, a um, paper cutter, yeah… well, you don’t have to do that either. You can start with any style notebook that will open flat. I’ve shown a couple below. As you can see I could use just about any notebooks of that size as they fit into my cover. The important thing is to find one that opens flat to be the most useful and available (Something you like that’s practical so you will use it is essential).

Why it works! When I started the big revamp of my contemporary series in February I set goals in my planner each day. I had to have 2 books written and 5 books revised and edited by June 30. So, each day I place that item on the top of my planner page, total to be revised, number of pages to be edited for each day and a report of how many I’d accomplished. Now I have a new total to be transferred to the next day. I’ve included samples of my messy pages. The point is messy or not, this system works, because it’s customizable, personal, tuned to your personal needs to accommodate school, work, finances, writing, kids’ activities, whatever. You build it so you can follow it and as you can see I’ve tried many different styles of weekly, daily and monthly pages. It doesn’t cost me anything to try something new because I create it myself. This can all be accomplished with just a decent black pen like a sharpie fine line that doesn’t go through paper and a notebook.

This year, not only did I run my business during the day but in the mornings and between customers this system helped me to stay focused on my goals – personal, financial and writerly. I’ve used several different weekly and daily methods…

I finished rough drafts of two books, edited and completely revised 5 books, took three courses, learned how to create covers. If I stay on track I will have released 8 books by the end of the year and written three more. Because I’m focusing on it step by step, day by day, I don’t feel overwhelmed. Incorporating a spiritual meditation of some kind into each day helps tremendously. I leave a space using a little cloud with dots to jot down the most important thing I glean from these moments. It’s very calming and affirming.

My contemporary series will begin launching in September so I created a launch plan with tasks to be done each month for each book, release dates, promos, kind of a birds eye view.

Have you tried creating your own planner? I’d love to hear about it. If I’ve made you curious you can find dozens of books on the subject but here’s a rather inexpensive eBook I’ve found particularly helpful. Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller.

Livia’s News! Livia Quinn is the author of a paranormal series, The Destiny Paramortals available on all eBook stores. The first book in the series, Storm Crazy, is free.

See all her books, and links for all stores here . On September 7th, she will be releasing the first book in her contemporary series, The Calloways of Rainbow Bayou. (Dates shown on the Calloways launch plan)

Find her on your preferred method of social media or her website or blog for the latest updates. If you’re a newsletter lover, sign up for her updates via email.

Livia Quinn Readers Group

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